Police tap phone, uncover ‘busy wholesale drug business’
A COURT has heard how a man turned to trafficking marijuana during a time of financial hardship.
Scott Anthony Petrie, 54, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg District Court to three offences including trafficking dangerous drugs and possessing dangerous drugs in excess of 500g.
Between the end of June and October 7 last year, Petrie carried on what was described as a "busy, wholesale trafficking business".
Petrie came to police attention while they were undertaking drug investigations in the Bundaberg area.
The court heard police lawfully intercepted phone calls during the investigation.
Petrie was initially spoken to by police when he was pulled over on October 6 and they later searched his home.
During the search police found just over $12,500 in cash as well as other utensils including a grinder and a set of digital scales.
They also found two containers of marijuana, one containing 1g and the other with 150g.
Police then searched Petrie's shed where they found a plastic container with 10 heat-seal bags.
Each of the bags had close to 450g of marijuana in them.
A total of 4.473kg of marijuana was found.
After Petrie was released from custody after being arrested and charged, he called his wife and said "at least they didn't get our nine grand" but indicated police had taken the $12,500 found.
On October 9 Petrie was searched again but this time his stepson was the subject of the warrant.
Petrie was then charged with trafficking.
Crown prosecutor Erin Kelly told the court he made a number of admissions to police including supplying an associate with up to "30 pounds" of marijuana with his stepson's assistance.
She said he had a criminal history in both Queensland and Tasmania, but both were dated.
Ms Kelly said the offending occurred for a period of three and a half months.
Petrie's barrister Nick Larter told the court his client had a long career working on fishing boats at sea.
Mr Larter said before the offending started, Petrie had developed a staph infection and was unable to work for some time.
The court heard when Petrie was ready to return to work on the boats there was no work for him and he fell into financial hardship.
Petrie then made the "incredibly stupid" decision to get involved with trafficking the marijuana.
Mr Larter said Petrie did not receive any significant financial benefit from being involved in the enterprise.
Mr Larter said his client had previously used marijuana recreationally in his down time, but had now given it up with no intentions to use it again.
Judge Tony Moynihan took into account Petrie's plea of guilty and that is came at an early opportunity.
He also took into account the submissions from both the crown and Mr Larter.
Judge Moynihan also took into account Petrie had spent no time in pre-sentence custody.
Petrie was ordered to a head sentence of three years imprisonment to be suspended after serving 10 months with an operational period of four years.
Convictions were recorded.